Name: Elizabeth Porter, '16
Major: Speech Communications
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.
- President and director of the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir
- Act Six Leadership & Scholarship Initiative, Cadre 10
- Co-creator of and point-person for Step 7, a student-led diversity-training initiative for the Whitworth community
- Oversees implementation of Teach the Movement, a new student-led volunteer program in which college students teach U.S. civil rights history in K-12 classrooms. Porter has brought together the NAACP, Spokane Public Schools, the Whitworth School of Education, and student groups to support the program.
- Named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2015; Porter is one of 200 college students nationwide honored for their civic engagement
I am passionate about Teach the Movement because it will open doors for learning in the classrooms we will serve and for Whitworth volunteers. And it will allow students to understand how the U.S. Civil Rights Movement affects them today, and how they can be the future by understanding people's lives and stories from the past. It will also encourage local youth to consider college as a real possibility.
My favorite parts of Act Six are the connections that we get to make and being a part of something bigger than myself. Attending the Act Six convention last summer reminded me of how much [founder] Tim Herron's vision really is invested in me as an individual to be successful.
There are so many great moments at Whitworth that I have gotten to experience. One example is when I walk around campus and can talk with professors and staff about things going on in my life and know that they care, are supportive, and are even willing to pray with me.
Two of the many people on campus whom I consider mentors are Stephy Beans and Larry Burnley. "Mama Beans" [coordinator for ministry & multicultural affairs] has encouraged and led me, and she has helped me become even more passionate about the gospel choir. Dr. Burnley [assistant vice president for diversity & intercultural relations] has challenged me to think critically and to pursue the biggest dreams I can.
I plan to earn a master's degree in education or intercultural communications, and possibly a Ph.D. I hope to work with youth to link their stories and life experiences, to help propel them further into education and their future.